The Importance of Plants in an Ecosystem Pond

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You may not know it, but plants have an important role in an Eco-system pond besides adding beauty and providing a naturalizing look to your new water feature! Plants are one of the 5 key components to an eco-system pond, so don’t skip on aquatic plants. We’ll get straight to the point and provide you a few reasons why plants are important for your pond.

  1. Water Quality: Aquatic plants improve water quality in 4 ways.

    • Aquatic plants produce oxygen which increases the dissolved oxygen content in your pond. Oxygen is important for the beneficial (good) bacteria growing in your pond, they need the oxygen to survive, reproduce and grow. Beneficial bacteria are important for your pond because these microbes are responsible for processing dead organic material. They are also responsible for the denitrification cycle which is the process of transforming nitrates into nitrogen gas and removing it from the pond system. By the bacteria being able to grow continuously, they will also help reduce and/or prevent algae blooms in your pond.

    • Water quality is improved because the plants help absorb toxins and reduce water pollution.

    • Some types of aquatic plants can even produce bioactive materials which act like antibiotics, this can aid in reducing or killing pathogens in the water, reducing infection risk/rates to your fish.

    • Aquatic plants help absorb nitrates out of the water which helps maintain water quality.

  2. Algae Control- For algae to grow it needs water, sunlight, and nutrients which are produced by your fish waste and decomposing organics in the pond. Aquatic plants help filter out excess nutrients which the algae need to grow, they will basically out compete the algae for these nutrients and the algae will not survive.
  3. Certain plants like “Floaters” (water lettuce, water hyacinths) and “Emergent” (water lilly, Lotus) help provide your pond with areas of shade. Remember what was discussed in point #2? Algae needs sunlight to grow, these types of plants provide your pond with shade, reducing the amount of sunlight your pond is exposed to which will prevent algae blooms. 
  4. Believe it or not, fish can get sunburned on very hot days. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can damage a fish’s slime coat which is responsible to protect them from disease and injuries. Plants can provide the necessary shade for your fish to prevent this.
  5. Once again, aquatic plants are great in providing your pond with needed shade. Sunlight has its benefits but too much can be harmful. Too much sunlight in the summertime can raise water temperatures causing reduction in oxygen levels available to your fish and beneficial bacteria. 
  6. Plants can provide your fish with hiding spots protecting them from predators such as heron and racoons. 

As you can see, plants play a very important role in an eco-system pond. That is why we recommend every homeowner who has a pond to plant the appropriate plants in their pond. We hope this information is helpful. To learn about the different types of plants available and where they should be planted please read our next article!